Morning arrived with a splitting headache. He had expected it of course, and he only had himself to blame. Richard wanted to sleep it off, but Matthias would not stop nudging him.
“When do you intend to leave?” Matthias asked.
Richard groaned before asking, “Can I not leave… ever?”
“Get up,” Matthias replied.
Pulling himself into a seated position, he immediately found his eyes struggling to focus on his surroundings. It was metaphorically perfect, since he could not find solid ground in his current predicament either.
“Do you have coffee?” Richard shamelessly asked.
To his surprise, Matthias was already holding an extra cup in his hand. Nodding in gratitude, Richard took it from him and inhaled the aroma.
“So, when do you intend to leave?” Matthias repeated his question.
“Where’s Maddie?” Richard casually changed the subject.
“Aw, man. I wanted to get her number.”
“Don’t even think about it,” Matthias snapped.
Richard chuckled and added, “I’m joking. She’s not my type.”
“Thank the heavens,” Matthias said sarcastically and Richard gave a wide grin.
Fortunately for Richard, Matthias seemingly forgot his first question and walked to the dining table. Staying put, as any effort to stand would only cause his head to hurt further, Richard finished his cup of coffee silently. When he was done, he looked up at the clock above the television and asked, “Don’t you have to go to work?”
“I took the day off. Don’t you have to be at work?” Matthias replied.
It was 11a.m and Richard thought about his job as his father’s substitute. Oddly, he received no calls from his assistant, so he knew his father did not need him anymore. Wondering if he should still show up, his stomach began to growl at the lack of breakfast.
“I’m starving. Do you have anything to eat?” Richard asked instead.
“Why don’t you answer my question first?”
There was no escaping Matthias this time, as he flipped the newspaper shut and waited for an answer.
“Come on, it’s still so early. Feed me and I’ll tell you,” Richard attempted to negotiate, knowing full well it was pointless.
“Tell me or leave,” Matthias simply responded.
“Fine. They don’t need me at work. Now can we eat?” Richard gave in and got to his feet. It took him a couple of seconds before he could put one foot forward.
“I’ve already eaten.”
Hearing his reply, Richard let out a loud groan and plopped back onto the sofa.
“You’re such a child,” Matthias added.
“Yea, yea,” Richard muttered and shut his eyes.
He was indeed a child, a child that had to raise himself. There was no parent in his life to help him grow up. No one cared enough to teach him. After seeing his mother the night before, he knew she was as cold as his father. He could still remember her face – expressionless, without a hint of emotion in her eyes.
How could she though? Richard wondered. How could she not care? He actually thought she loved him, but her leaving abruptly was enough evidence that she didn’t.
“Here,” Matthias said, interrupting Richard in his thoughts.
When he opened his eyes, he found Matthias handing him a plate with a sandwich.
“You made this? For me?” Richard could not help but tease.
“No. Maddie did.”
“Ah, that sweet child,” Richard said, reaching for the plate. But just as he did, Matthias pulled his hand back.
“Speak of my sister again, and you’ll starve,” Matthias warned.
“I’m sorry,” Richard responded before snatching the plate from Matthias.
The moments after that carried on in silence, as Richard gobbled down his sandwich and Matthias finished his coffee. When they were both done, Richard cleared the dishes in hopes to use his actions as a reason to stay. He really hoped Matthias would let him live off his sofa for a while, or at least until he knew what to do. Richard had no plan on how to deal with his family’s situation, and he was clueless as to what actually went down after their arrival.
Did they add Gabriel into the family registry? Did his father rewrite his will? Will Richard have nothing? At that moment, he cared more about his future than the unanswered past. By the time he was done with his thoughts and the chore, Matthias strode up to him and asked, “So, how long do you intend to stay?”
The restructuring of the sentence gave Richard hope.
“Not long. Just for a while.”
“What’s up with your family?”
“What makes you think something’s up?”
“You got drunk in my house, you don’t want to leave, and Jodie called to check in on you.”
“Jodie called? Never thought she cared,” Richard said. He did not hide his shock as it came off as an honest surprise.
“So?” Matthias prompted.
Richard hesitated. His story might sound shallow to Matthias, but he needed a reason to stay. So, he decided to fill him in. By the end of the storytelling session, Matthias asked, “What’s your plan?”
Richard had none. He thought for a few seconds and gave the best answer, “If I know exactly what my parents are doing, then maybe I can tackle the situation better. That’s my plan… for now.”
“You said Guinevere’s fiancée was with them, right? He should know,” Matthias stated.
“But would he tell? I’m sure you know the answer to that.”
“I’m not asking you to ask him. Someone close to him can do that for you. Someone like Guinevere… or Jodie.”
Matthias made a good point. If that was what he wanted to do, Richard needed to ask for someone’s help. How much information can he obtain from them, that’s another thing to worry about. For now, Richard had to choose.